Fun Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Don’t miss out on any of the fun this weekend! Take your ordinary weekend and make it into a celebration for Earth Day! From local activities to simple crafts, there is an activity for everyone to enjoy this Earth Day. Check out some of these fun family-oriented activities that are a great way to celebrate Earth Day!

1. Plant a Tree
Planting trees is one of the most popular ways to celebrate Earth Day. Many people, organizations, and communities plant trees for the occasion and so can you! Not only are you helping the environment by planting a tree, but your kids will absolutely love the idea! If you plan on going with this idea, make sure your tree lasts with this guide to show you the proper way to plant a tree.

2. Plan a Garden
Earth Day might be too early in the season to start a garden, but you can at least plan your garden in advance! If you are a first time gardener, you and your family will want to do some research. Figure out what veggies grow in what season and how to start and keep up with your garden. If you already garden, get your family involved in the process and ask them what type of veggies they want to grow. Or you could create your kids very own play garden, where they plant and take care of their own crops. This is a fun way to get kids involved while showing them the importance of patience and responsibility!

3. Enjoy a Hike or Go to the Park
With the weather warming up, it’s time to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors. A nice, simple, and tranquil way to celebrate Earth Day is to go on a hike or do some sort of fun outdoor activity. Look up nearby trails, parks, and fun outdoor attractions that the whole family would enjoy. If the weather permits, you could even pack a cooler and enjoy a little picnic while taking in the beautiful scenery around you!

4. Enjoy Local Earth Day Activities
Most local communities have activities that families can enjoy together. Whether it’s an Earth Day fair or a community clean up, check your community’s websites to see what sort of celebrations/events are coming up in your community and plan on joining the fun!

5. Build a Birdhouse/Birdbath
Create an oasis for birds by building and installing a birdhouse or birdbath in your yard. Your kids or grandkids will be ecstatic when it comes to this creative project. You can either start from scratch and build a bird house, or you could easily buy a pre made birdhouse that can be painted. Making a birdbath is just as fun as painting a birdhouse. Check out some of these fun DIY birdbaths that are bound to be extremely fun to build!

5 Can’t Kill Houseplants Perfect for Any Homeowner!

Anyone who has had houseplants knows that when you go on vacation, or just forget to water them for a few days, they can start to wilt and die. They quickly go from beautiful additions to your home to sad looking eyesores. To combat against dying plants and provide a natural feeling to your home, here are five lovely houseplants that don’t need daily attention to thrive.

Succulents

Big or small, succulents are easy to take care of and can be extremely beautiful. All you have to do is plant them in a suitable pot with well-draining potting mix. Find a sunny spot for them to thrive and then let them be!

Sansevieria

Otherwise known as Mother In-Law’s Tongue or Snake Plant, Sansevieria is a great accent for any room. They also happen to be one of the easiest houseplants to own. Surviving wonderfully in low sunlight, you’ll only water them once every 10 days. Some Snake Plants can grow to be four feet tall, but they will most likely only grow to about 12 inches tall.

ZZ Plant

This plant is virtually invincible, only needing to be watered every two to three weeks, the ZZ plant functions well in all levels of light except intense direct sunlight. This houseplant takes a while to grow to its full height (approximately 20 inches tall on average). If you want a low commitment plant that will still look lovely even when you’ve forgotten to take care of it, the ZZ plant is for you.


Philodendron

The Philodendron, otherwise known as the pothos plant, is a common houseplant because it’s easy to take care of and quite beautiful. You can leave this plant anywhere that isn’t in direct sunlight, water it once a week, and you’ll have natural home décor to brag about for the next five plus years.

Aloe

One of the more well known plants on our list, Aloe can also help your sunburn when it’s fully grown. It is also one of the most aesthetically pleasing succulents as well. Aloe only needs to be watered every two weeks and should be placed in generally bright sunlight for it to thrive and be happy.

5 Tips to Make Gardening Easier this Spring

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Keep insects and other pests from damaging your plants. If you’ve ever had the problem of pests getting to your pots through the drainage hole of your containers and ruining your lovely plants, we’ve got the fix for you! Instead of taking pebbles or other options the insects can wiggle through, try using a piece of a window screen, an old pair of pantyhose, or a coffee filter. These options are cheap, simple, and effective in keeping bugs out from your beautiful garden, and keeping your plants safe.

leder

Planning a move? If you have beautiful potted plants you’d like to take with you to your new home, here’s a tip for safe transporting. If you have a car it can be a gamble when transporting your flowers as to whether or not they’ll be in tact when you arrive at your destination. However, if you have a step ladder that you can fit in your trunk, say goodbye to that problem! Placing potted plants in between the rungs in the ladder provides a great way for the plants to stay in place during the trip, keeping your car soil-free, and your plants perfectly intact.

potted plant

We all strain ourselves trying to pick up those heavy potted plants, so  give your back a break with this easy trick. First, in the bottom of your large potted plants, fill up to about halfway, or to your own personal preference, with ordinary packing peanuts. Then place a sheet of landscape fabric on top of of the peanuts, and next just line the pot with your potting soil! This is a quick fix and will make lugging around large plants dramatically easier.


Apple cider vinegar, lemon and lemongrass home remedy, safe and effective formula to repel mosquito, fleas and bugs. It can be used to repel fleas from pets, and is can neutralize unpleasant odor from dogs.

There seems to be no way around bugs invading your garden. So if your plants are being swarmed by fruit flies or gnats and you don’t want to spray pesticides on them to get them away, we have a much safer, and easier solution. All you need is some water, apple cider vinegar, and a saucer or bowl. Mix the two in the bowl or saucer, half water, half apple cider vinegar. Just place your container by your house plants, or wherever these pests hover in your garden, and when these bugs fly over to your beautiful plants, they’ll be distracted the tantalizing solution, and won’t be bothering you anymore.

platic cover

With the weather being as unpredictable as it is, you may need to protect your plants on short notice from a frost. To save your plants from freezing to death, an easy and cost-effective way is to use a milk jug, two liter bottle, or anything of the sort. By cutting of the bottom and placing the containers over the top of the growing plants can act as a really helpful and quick cover when needed

Gardening Tips

gardening

There is nothing more joyous than growing your own fruit and vegetables. It’s beautiful addition to your landscape, and can provide your family with produce all season long. As the last frost is upon us and the soil warms up, now is the perfect time to start thinking about planning a garden.

Gardens are an efficient way to save you money at the grocery store. For one, typically what you’ll grow you’ll have enough for yourself and your family, and neighbors and friends. To start a garden depends on what you want to plant; however, the most important element is soil. Type of soil, temperature of the soil, acidity of soil and the overall health of the soil are all going to determine how your plants grow during the season. Lots of people buy soil from a gardening or hardware store, which already has a lot of the nutrients that your plants will need. Another route is to compost. Composting is a money saver, and usually yields better produce and flowers if taken care of correctly. There are two types of compost: greens and browns.

Once you have determined what kind of soil you want to use, and how you want to make it (by buying it, adding nutrients to your current soil, or using compost), you’ll want to determine what you want to grow and how much space you’ll need. I would suggest picking up a few books of growing vegetables*. It will tell you which plants grow throughout the season, like strawberries, versus plants that only grow once during the season. Some plants like more acidic soil, like blueberries, and others prefer more alkaline soil, so it’s best to get a soil/pH test before you start planting your garden.

Next, you’ll have to determine whether you want to grow your plants directly in the ground or build on raised beds. The advantage of the raised beds is that you can control the soil better, but the disadvantage is the space it allows you to grow both horizontally and vertically.

Finally, you’ll need seeds. You can find them at your local gardening store, or buy them in bulk online at places like Johnny’s Seeds. They also have organic seeds if you’d like to plant an organic garden. No matter what you choose, you’ll have an abundance of produce that you’ll enjoy all season long!

Happy gardening!

Creating a Patio Paradise: 7 Ways to Make Your Outdoor Space an Escape from Reality

Backyard RelaxationTransforming your backyard into the space of your dreams takes a little planning, ingenuity and creativity. The first step is to come up with a plan. What kind of patio are you looking for? What are your entertainment goals? How big is your family? How much space do you have to work with? All of these factors come into play when planning your patio paradise. Check out these seven tips.

Add Pizzazz with Greenery to Small Patios

Short on space? That’s OK. Turn your small space into a gardener’s paradise with a functional yet beautiful vegetable or flower garden. Place a variety of container sizes for depth and dimension strategically around the patio, which allows your flowers and veggies to filter and drain easily. Make sure your patio gets at least six to eight hours of bright light per day, advises Martha Stewart. Grow your own fruits and veggies in this mini-garden to add to your nightly dinners in the summer — cucumbers, peppers tomatoes, you name it.

Go Big

Got lots of space? Visualize an outdoor living space that defines your goals complete with a full kitchen, fire pit, water feature, and eating, sitting and living areas, says HGTV. If you already have a pool and hot tub, even better. Pull the whole look together with a gazebo, arbor, gardens or custom waterfall and pond. Go a step further to enhance the design of your patio with an open air structure like a pavilion or arbor, featuring sweeping vines that pull the eye to a small country garden.

Set in Stone

Create a simple stacked stone wall to offset your garden, overflowing with cascading vines and flowers. Get eco-friendly by lining a quaint garden walkway with small recycled decorative stones. You don’t need to spend a fortune on stones; scan your property for old ones for a more rustic, natural look.

Private Spa Retreat

For the ultimate in romantic stay-cations, transform your patio into a private retreat complete with stamped brick patio, fire pit, and barbecue bar with covered arbors leading to a hot tub tucked away.

Pergolas for Shade

A simple pergola with short bench right underneath for sunning or shading can be complemented with climbing vines, suggests HGTV. For historic charm, place a small stone fire pit nearby with comfy chairs for roasting marshmallows.

Secluded Spaces

Vibrant fabrics and colorful planted containers are all you’ll need to make your own simple yet eclectic patio space. You don’t need fancy pavers for your patio. Try brick, flagstone, wood chips or gravel instead.

Bring the Indoors Out

Bring the charm and coziness of your living room out to your bluestone patio with wicker pieces covered in thick padded seating in eye-popping colors. Mount a flat screen TV onto the exterior wall, add electric lights, stereo system, outdoor kitchen and fire pit for a one-stop-shop family recreation area.

Let Judd Builders create your patio paradise today. Give us a call or request more information.

What To Plant In The Fall

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Although spring is the ideal time for planting, fall is still a good time to add new things to your garden and make your home look beautiful from the outside. Here are various reasons on why fall planting is just as effective as spring planting:

Fall has distinct planting perks. The cooler air is easier on not only the plants, but the gardeners too. The soil is still warm, which allows roots to grow until the ground freezes. During the springs, plants won’t grow until the soil warms up from the cold winter.

There is less rain and unpredictable weather in the fall, which can make the soil very hard to work with, not to mention that the late season is usually cheaper at garden centers that are selling the last of their inventory before it gets too cold.

Bugs and diseases are not present in the fall like they are in the spring. You do not need fertilizer, because it stimulates new and gentle growth that can be destroyed by winter weather.

Plants that can all be successfully planted in the fall include turfgrass, spring-blooming bulbs, cool-season vegetables, perennials, trees, and shrubs.

Read more on the details on types of plants to plant in the fall.

Tips to Starting Your Own Vegetable Garden

Cropped shot of a growing plant in a man's hands

There are basic steps to planting a garden that beginners might not be aware of. These simple guidelines will help make sure your garden will flourish without any problems:

First you need to pick a spot with a lot of sun exposure. Vegetables need sunlight, so choose an area in your yard where they will definitely get some.

Second, make sure you get good soil. The soil the plants grow in will have an effect on their growth and quality. Some soil can contain compost and still be fine for planting, but other soils need help. Vegetables must grow in rich, well-drained soil. Check with your local nursery about free soil test kits!

Next, make sure your placement is right. Avoid planting too close to trees, which will block sunlight and absorb nutrients from the garden. Also, a garden closer to the house will prevent animals from eating your vegetables.

Then you must choose between a tilling and a raised bed. A raised bed is a better option if you have poor soil or is you are limited in mobility, it’s easier to reach and maintain.

Lastly, you will need the basic planting tools. The necessities include spade, garden fork, soaking hose, hoe, hand weeder and wheel barrow or bucket for transporting soil.

Don’t forget that plants also need a lot of water, at least one inch a week!

Simple Landscaping and Gardening Tips

edge

For those who weren’t born with a green thumb, there are easy ways to make your yard pop! Here is a project that can help create the landscaping you’ve always wanted:

Install a Rigid Flower Bed Edging: Having a clean edge where the lawn meets the flower bed looks fantastic and makes mowing easy too.

Tips: Use a charged garden hose to lay out a smooth curve. (A “charged” garden hose full of water makes a kink-free curve) charge it up by turning on the spigot but leaving the sprayer off.

With this as your guide, use a lawn edger to cut away extra sod to make room for the edging. Hit in the edging with a rubber mallet and add the stakes. Finish by trimming the edging with a hacksaw.

Expenses: Steel- $1.25 per lineal foot; aluminum- $2.25 plf; rigid plastic or fiberglass- $1.65 plf.

Tools: Garden hose, flour or powdered chalk, lawn edger or spade, shovel, speed square, hacksaw, rubber mallet, hammer.

Start a Home Garden This Spring

gardening

There is nothing more joyous than growing your own fruit and vegetables. It’s beautiful addition to your landscape, and can provide your family with produce all season long. As the last frost is upon us and the soil warms up, now is the perfect time to start thinking about planning a garden.

Gardens are an efficient way to save you money at the grocery store. For one, typically what you’ll grow you’ll have enough for yourself and your family, and neighbors and friends. To start a garden depends on what you want to plant; however, the most important element is soil. Type of soil, temperature of the soil, acidity of soil and the overall health of the soil are all going to determine how your plants grow during the season. Lots of people buy soil from a gardening or hardware store, which already has a lot of the nutrients that your plants will need. Another route is to compost. Composting is a money saver, and usually yields better produce and flowers if taken care of correctly. There are two types of compost: greens and browns.

Once you have determined what kind of soil you want to use, and how you want to make it (by buying it, adding nutrients to your current soil, or using compost), you’ll want to determine what you want to grow and how much space you’ll need. I would suggest picking up a few books of growing vegetables*. It will tell you which plants grow throughout the season, like strawberries, versus plants that only grow once during the season. Some plants like more acidic soil, like blueberries, and others prefer more alkaline soil, so it’s best to get a soil/pH test before you start planting your garden.

Next, you’ll have to determine whether you want to grow your plants directly in the ground or build on raised beds. The advantage of the raised beds is that you can control the soil better, but the disadvantage is the space it allows you to grow both horizontally and vertically.

Finally, you’ll need seeds. You can find them at your local gardening store, or buy them in bulk online at places like Johnny’s Seeds. They also have organic seeds if you’d like to plant an organic garden. No matter what you choose, you’ll have an abundance of produce that you’ll enjoy all season long!

Happy gardening!

*As a side note, I would suggest growing 4 or 5 different plants if you’re a beginner. It’s best to start with easy-to-grow plants like tomatoes, melons, peppers, pumpkins, and squash.